Elections

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Feliciano announces GOP bid for auditor

Dan Feliciano

MONTPELIER — Former gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano plans to run for state auditor as a Republican. Feliciano said Tuesday he is in the process of gathering the required signatures and plans to submit his petition to the Secretary of State’s Office by the Thursday deadline. Auditor Doug Hoffer, a Democrat and Progressive, has already filed for re-election. As a business consultant, Feliciano says he has the necessary background to help state government improve its operations and finances by finding improvements. He said he decided to seek the office after people told him his background was well-suited for the position. Continue Reading →

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Minter unveils economic development plan

BARRE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter has unveiled her plan to stimulate economic growth in Vermont. Minter stood before the City Place building on Monday to share her plan to invest in downtowns such as Barre, while calling for investment in agriculture, manufacturing, energy efficiency and the tech sector. “Too many people are struggling in an economy that is stacked against them,” said Minter, who highlighted the public-private partnerships in Barre that have led to a revitalization of the downtown. The state has invested $19 million dollars in downtown Barre, resulting in $45 million in private investment, a move that led to the construction of the City Place building, which houses both state offices and private businesses. Minter said that, in her first year as governor, the state would award money to three communities, who will be chosen through a competitive process. Continue Reading →

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Wolffing to lead Smith’s LG bid

MONTPELIER — Erika Wolffing, the top aide to outgoing Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell, will leave her post Friday to head Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith’s campaign for lieutenant governor. “I’ve known Erika for years and I’ve always had a great amount of respect for the work that she’s done and I’ve worked with her much more closely with her in the last two years as she worked in the Senate Pro Tem’s office,” Smith said Thursday. “I wanted somebody who I knew could do the job and I knew she was that person.”

Wolffing, 30, has worked in Campbell’s office since December 2014. She said Thursday her role as Smith’s campaign manager is not yet officially, but should be finalized “ideally on Friday” after she resigns her current position. Wolffing worked through two legislative sessions for Campbell, which his colleagues say were among his most effective as the pro tem. Continue Reading →

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Speaker joins race for lieutenant governor

Vermont Speaker of the House Rep. Shap Smith, D-Morrisville, announces Tuesday at an impromptu press conference on the State House steps that he is no longer seeking the governor's seat to spend more time with his family following a diagnosis of breast cancer for his wife, Melissa. (Times Argus/Stefan Hard)

MONTPELIER — Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith is entering the race for lieutenant governor, ending months of speculation about his political plans after he suspended his gubernatorial bid in November to help his wife wage a battle with breast cancer. Smith, 50, announced his candidacy in an emailed news release Wednesday morning after discussing his plans in an embargoed interview with the Vermont Press Bureau Tuesday afternoon. He joins Chittenden County Sen. David Zuckerman and Burlington Rep. Kesha Ram in a three-way Democratic primary for the state’s second-highest office. Smith said he called both Zuckerman and Ram to tell them he would be entering the race before making it public. The speaker, from Morrisville, announced his candidacy for governor last June, flanked by legions of House members backing his candidacy. Continue Reading →

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Bucknam launches bid for AG

Deborah Bucknam (courtesy photo)

MONTPELIER — Republican Deborah Bucknam has entered the race for attorney general and will challenge T.J. Donovan, the Democratic state’s attorney for Chittenden County, for the office. Bucknam, 69, from Walden, officially announced her candidacy Monday and plans to hold a formal kick-off in the near future where she will outline the themes of her campaign. On Monday, Bucknam said her experience as an attorney in Vermont spurred her desire to run. “I’ve been practicing law for 37 years and representing mostly individuals and some small businesses, and I just see the effect of the justice system and Vermont state government on individuals. In recent years I haven’t really liked what I’ve seen,” she said. Continue Reading →

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Sanders searches for path, purpose

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during an election night campaign event at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in Huntington, W.Va. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

MONTPELIER — After suffering four more losses Tuesday, softened just a bit by a victory in Rhode Island, Sen. Bernie Sanders must now plot a way forward for his campaign without viable path to winning the nomination. Sanders’ Democratic primary rival Hillary Clinton coasted to double-digit margins of victory in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and also won a closer contest in Connecticut. After losing New York, Sanders’ path to the nomination was extremely narrow. Now it has essentially eroded. Sanders was able to win Rhode Island, but the small state offers him few delegates and Clinton now has about 90 percent of the delegates she needs to secure the nomination. Continue Reading →

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After New York defeat, Sanders says a ‘path to victory’ remains

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to reporters at the Burlington International Airport after losing the New York Primary to Hillary Clinton. (VPR/Taylor Dobbs)

Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’s looking forward to next week after Hillary Clinton beat him by about 15 percent of the vote in the New York primary Tuesday. “Today we took Secretary Clinton on in her own state of New York and we lost,” Sanders said to reporters after landing in Burlington Tuesday night. “I congratulate Secretary Clinton on her victory.”

Sanders didn’t say much about New York after that. “Next week, we will be competing in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware, and we look forward to winning a number of those states,” Sanders said. He didn’t venture a guess as to how many of those states he thinks he can win, but Sanders says he still thinks he can win the nomination. Continue Reading →

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Story & Video: Gubernatorial candidates pounce on alleged EB-5 fraud, call for transparency and release of documents

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith calls for an independent commission to investigate the state's role in EB-5 projects that are the subject of civil fraud litigation. (VPB/Neal Goswami)

https://youtu.be/1W3BtbhRw4c

MONTPELIER — Candidates seeking to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin are calling for transparency and one is seeking an independent commission to review the state’s involvement as a federal and state fraud case against two Northeast Kingdom developers proceeds. Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith, a former Windham County state senator, held a State House news conference Monday to call for an independent commission appointed by the chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court to investigate the state’s role in the fraud case against Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros. The two men are facing civil litigation filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the state for allegedly misusing $200 million in investor funds they raised through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Quiros is accused of using $50 million of investor funds for his own personal gain. Galbraith said the two men have contributed significant amounts of money to Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Vermont Democratic Party and it should be determined if those contributions resulted in any favorable treatment for the EB-5 projects led by Quiros and Stenger at the Jay Peak and Q Burke Mountain resorts, and other projects in Newport. Continue Reading →

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Speaker set to decide his political future by early May

House Speaker Shap Smith

MONTPELIER — With the clock winding down on the legislative biennium, one major political question remains unanswered — the future of Democratic House Speaker Shap Smith. Smith, 50, was briefly a candidate for governor late last summer, hoping to succeed Gov. Peter Shumlin, a fellow Democrat who is not seeking a fourth term. He launched his gubernatorial bid in his hometown of Morrisville, flanked by dozens of the House members he has led for the previous seven years. But Smith suspended his campaign soon after when his wife, Dr. Melissa Volansky, began a battle with breast cancer. His focus shifted from a political race to ensuring the well-being of his wife, a physician, and their two children. Continue Reading →

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Senate president pro-tem stepping down

Senate Pro Tem John Campbell

MONTPELIER — No matter what happens during the November elections, there will be new leadership at the State House. Senate President Pro-Tem John Campbell announced Monday he will join House Speaker Shap Smith and Gov. Peter Shumlin in not seeking re-election, choosing instead to head the state association that represents sheriffs and prosecutors. Upon completion of the 2016 legislative session in early May, Campbell will take the position of executive director of the Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs, a job that reflects his work, past and present. “It’s not often that jobs open up in a field in which you have passion for,” Campbell said. “Law enforcement and being a prosecutor are things that are very important to me.”

The eight-term Democrat is a deputy state’s attorney in Windsor County, which he has represented since 2001. Continue Reading →

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